These chocolate hazelnut babka buns are bound to become a weekend favourite! Soft and fluffy, lightly sweet, they are filled with dark chocolate and crunchy hazelnuts and make a delicious treat for the whole family. These buns are inspired by cinnamon buns and babka braided bread. To make these babka buns, I’m using pretty much the same type of dough as you would to make babka itself, which is a simple, yeast- risen dough.
What is babka
Babka is a sweet braided dessert bread of Jewish origin, that is filled with swirls of chocolate spread or cinnamon sugar. It’s name, “babka” translates to “little grandmother” and has been a traditional celebration cake in Eastern Europe since the 1800s. The dough is rolled out flat, spread with a sweet mixture, then rolled together, twisted and baked in a loaf pan. It takes a little effort to make, but the results are so delicious!
How to make chocolate hazelnut babka buns
- First you start by proofing the yeast and creaming the butter, sugar, vanilla and egg yolks. Then the flour and salt are added and kneaded to form the dough. To knead the dough, you have two options. The traditional method of kneading it by hand, which takes quite some effort and time or you can use your stand mixer (Küchenmaschine) fitted with the hook attachment, which saves some muscle power and time.
- You’ll know the dough is ready when it is smooth and elastic, which means it will no longer stick to the sides of the bowl or your hands. The dough is then transferred to a lightly oiled, large bowl, covered and set aside in a warm spot in the kitchen to rise until it has doubled in size (about 1 hour).
- While the dough rises, prepare the chocolate filling. It should be slightly thick, spreadable consistency.
- Then, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle, roughly 0,5 cm thick. Spread the filling on half of the dough, leaving the edges free and then sprinkle it with the chopped hazelnuts.
- Fold the uncovered dough over the filling and gently press it together. Using a sharp knife cut into 2,5 cm wide strips. Twist each strip few times, then form a bun/ knot shape. Transfer the formed buns to a baking tray lined with baking parchment, cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside allow to rise again, for another hour.
Looking for other baking inspiration?
Then try one of these delicious recipes:
- German Apple Torte
- Easy Lemon Cake with Ricotta
- Carrot Cake (gluten-free, sugar-free)
- Oma’s Pear Tart
Babka Buns with Chocolate and Hazelnut
For the dough:
- 250 ml lukewarm milk (I use unsweetened plant-based)
- 7 g package instant dry yeast (or 14 g fresh yeast)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 60 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 tablespoon organic cane or beet sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon bourbon vanilla powder
- 3 egg yolks, room temperature (reserving egg whites)
- 250 g flour (Type 1050)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Chocolate hazelnut filling:
- 30 g unsalted butter, diced
- 2 tablespoons mascabado brown sugar
- 60 g dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher) roughly chopped (I use GEPA 85%)
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (Ceylon)
- 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped (30 g)
In a small bowl, add the lukewarm milk, followed by the yeast and honey. Use a whisk to combine and let proof until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed. Add the vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time, until incorporated. Turn to medium-high and continue mixing until fluffy, scraping the edges with a spatula as you go.
Reduce speed to low and add the flour, salt and milk mixture. Continue mixing until incorporated.
Switch to the dough hook (or knead by hand) until dough is smooth, pliable and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl, about 5-7 minutes. If dough it too sticky, add a little more flour.
Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with a tea towel and let rise in a warm spot in the kitchen, until doubled in size (1-2 hours).
Just before dough finishes the first rise, prepare the filling. To make the filling put the butter and chocolate into a small, heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heating until fully melted. Then stir in the rest of the ingredients, EXCEPT the hazelnuts, Set aside until thickened to a spreadable consistency.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1/2 cm thick rectangle on a lightly floured surface.
Spread the filling over HALF of the dough, leaving a 1/2 cm border and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Fold the uncovered dough over the filling and gently press together. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut into thin strips between 2 and 2.5cm thick.
Twist each strand of dough a few times then, gripping one end between your thumb and forefingers, coil the dough around the fingers to form a bun shape, finishing by folding the end of the dough over and under.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place rolls in baking dish, equally spaced, leaving 5cm gap between each bun. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot for 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C degrees. Uncover the rolls and brush with the reserved eggs whites. Transfer the rolls to the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden.
Serve and enjoy!
For a relaxing atmosphere in the kitchen I recommend my personal Elle Republic: Chilled Out Kitchen Tunes Playlist on Spotify.
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